The world is changing fast and to keep up you need local knowledge with global context.
Research last week introduced me to Colonel Edward Harwood, one of the few to warn fellow Americans ahead of the 1929 Crash. Among other achievements, he founded the non-profit American Institute of Economic Research in 1933. It survives to this day, best known for its Everyday Price Index, for many the most realistic measure of US inflation. Google the good Colonel for another example of how much is to be learnt from dead guys.
A lot of Harwood’s philosophy resonates today. Particularly his reverence for the US’s Founding Fathers, those humble, God-Fearing souls whose foresight provided the foundation for an economic structure which unleashed the power of human ingenuity.
Their cornerstones were to protect individual liberties and property rights, and ensure the sanctity of contracts. And, critically, the need to limit Government from its own expansive tendencies. These ideals were cemented in a Constitution which catapulted the US from zero to 26% of global GDP – 5% of the world’s population generating a quarter of the world’s total wealth.
Two and a half centuries later, you’d have thought the rest of humanity would cotton on. Belatedly, many parts of the world, indeed some on this continent, certainly have. But in a nation bedevilled by 25% unemployment and anaemic growth, the re-elected leaders shout of a road to prosperity lying in greater State intervention and stricter application of social engineering. Prosperity, one must ask, for whom?
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Cyril Ramaphosa: The Audio Biography
Listen to the story of Cyril Ramaphosa's rise to presidential power, narrated by our very own Alec Hogg.